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Stakeholders unite to make Southampton a music city

20 May 2019

A GROUP of ambitious music industry figures in Southampton hope a campaign to create a music strategy could eventually lead to the opening of a major venue in the city centre.

Representatives from Southampton’s two universities have joined forces with other interested parties and the local council to launch SO:Music.

The project is designed to support cultural regeneration through a series of initiatives involving collaborative partnerships between Solent University, the University of Southampton, Southampton Cultural Development Trust, the city’s music networking collective SoNG, local venues, studios and promoters.

“The first phase of the project, which included gigs and conferences in the city in March, was well received by Southampton City Council and started a lot of debate,” Solent University professor of creative and cultural industries Martin James tells LIVE UK

The campaign also includes a university-led research project, the first part of which, an audit of venues, has been completed.

“The next phase is to map the creative industries in Southampton and find out exactly who is based where,” said James. “This is part of creating a music city strategy. 

“We’re very aware that Southampton could never compare itself to other music cities, but there is a lot of research now pointing to the fact that secondary music cities are becoming really important and we see ourselves as being a secondary music city.”

Top of the group’s wish list for the campaign is a new venue in the city centre.

“What we really need is to push the council into supporting the development of a new venue in the city centre,” he adds. “We have a cultural quarter, with restaurants, museums and a shopping centre, but we don’t have a venue within it. All our venues, as good as they are, are on the edges of the city.” 

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